Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, No Commemoration in this School

By Barry Rubin

I remember vividly watching the World Trade Center afire eight years ago on American television, sitting at my desk in Tel Aviv. At one point the television announcer said: “Nothing will ever be the same.”

At that moment, I spoke back to the TV (actually it was my computer screen) by saying: “I don’t believe that at all.”

And indeed since then we’ve seen all too many examples of how things are the same, or worse; how lessons have been forgotten or turned into their opposite; how terrorists and their ideology and their supporters have been, shall we say, sanitized or ruled off-limits to criticism; and in some cases victims have been demonized.

Today, my ten-year-old son, Daniel, who is going to a Maryland public school for this year noticed that no mention was being made of the anniversary of the attacks that killed about 3,000 Americans, including some local residents who were on planes or were working at the Pentagon. He said the class should discuss it and the teacher replied they would do so at the end of the day.

One of his fellow students said he didn't think it was important. That’s the point of commemoration, isn’t it, to show why that's not so?

At any rate, at day’s end when they were having their Friday afternoon discussion period, my son got to speak for two minutes before being cut off by the teacher who said, “Ok, now let’s get back to more pleasant things.” She pointed out that there was no directive by the school system to discuss September 11.

I can report, however, that a great deal of time was devoted on a previous day to the dangers of man-made global warming, which is part of the curriculum. I guess that makes September 11 and the realities of international terrorism an inconvenient truth.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books. To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports.

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